You may be one of those people often confronted with invitations or suggestions to "come visit me!", "you've just got to taste the-" even as far as "my great aunt has a summer home in Tuscany you could stay there". So often these ideas are taken and added to the bottom of your already comfortable list. Maybe you're hesitating at the idea of the unknown, the risk involved, or how unconventional a suggestion may seem. You find yourself clutching what you know is safe and secure, it's only natural. But if there is an adventurous bone in your body, consider places to go and stay that may be outside your comfort zone.
Here's something outside the box: stay on a houseboat when you're in the Netherlands! Houseboats were the Dutch solution to a housing shortage, while they have no shortage of canals. Spend a night or more on the water, with the light from the lamps on the sidewalk where your docked shining dimly through the porthole above your bed. Let the subtle current in the canal rock you to sleep. Most houseboats are small, privately owned, budget friendly and very homey feeling. If breakfast is included you might have the unique opportunity to join the Captain and his wife for a homemade typical Dutch meal. Enjoy the quiet cultural venture of being on water without the risk, distance or pomp and circumstance you would find on a cruise ship.
There are so many ways to travel one can become quickly overwhelmed. First you've got to choose a destination. Start big and narrow it down: foreign or domestic? What can you afford? Where are you drawn? Are you interested in other languages and submerging yourself in another culture? Are you looking for a change of scenery or just a change of pace? For a real cultural experience, step outside your comfort zone one invitation at a time. Follow through once in a while by accepting that invitation to meet a friend of a friend for coffee in Provence.